The Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution
Cuba in the 1900s • Cuba gained its independence from Spain in 1898. • In the 1900s, Cuba’s wealth was controlled by American companies. • The main businesses in Cuba were sugar and mining companies. • The leader of Cuba was Fulgencio Batista.
Batista’s Cuba • Fulgencio Batista had originally been elected as president, but made himself dictator of Cuba. • Many people were unhappy with Batista’s rule. • Poverty was abundant, education was poor, and healthcare was limited. • Social and economic problems helped lead to the unrest of many Cubans. • There was a small class of rich Cubans with all the power, while the majority was very poor and had little to no power.
Power to the People • Soon, revolutionaries lead by Fidel Castro began to rise up against the government. • Castro and his forces led an unsuccessful overthrow of the government in 1953, but began a full scale war against Batista’s government in 1955. • Castro attempted to overthrow Batista’s government for seven years. • Castro and his “army” lost many battles to Batista – he was even arrested and sentenced to 15 years in jail! • Castro was released in 1955 after serving only two years and fled to Mexico to put together a new group of rebel fighters. • By 1959, Castro and his men drove Batista and his supporters out of Havana and took over the government.
Cuban Revolution • In 1959, Castro defeated the Batista government. • Castro seized absolute power and made himself dictator of Cuba. • He then had 700 of his enemies executed and many more were thrown in prison. • The US originally backed Castro because he promised to make Cuba a democracy… • US even sent him supplies to help defeat Batista.
Castro’s Promises • Castro promised to: • end American dominance over Cuban businesses, • re-distribute the wealth evenly to all Cubans, • make every Cuban literate, • and he wanted to give all Cubans healthcare and higher life expectancy.
The Real Changes • Castro failed to do many of the things he promised he would do. • Castro began organizing a Communist government right away: • He declared that all property belonging to Americans now belonged to the Cuban government. • All farms, factories, & businesses now belonged to the government. • Cubans no longer had the right to protest against the government. • Cuban newspapers, radio, & TV were shut down. • The government became the only source for news. • Churches were closed and property was taken over by government. • Castro’s government gave less freedom to Cuba’s citizens.
Impact on US • It was the ultimate goal of Fidel Castro to break ties between Cuba and the United States. • After the revolution, relations between the American government and Cuban government got worse and worse. • US didn’t like having a communist country so close. • US didn’t like Cuba having ties with the Soviet Union because they were involved in the Cold War. • Americans who owned land and businesses in Cuba lost their property. • Castro forced American civilians to leave Cuba.
Bay of Pigs • This was a plan to arm Cuban exiles living in Florida and send them to Cuba. • Once the exiles arrived in Cuba, unhappy Cubans would join them at the Bay of Pigs and they would overthrow Castro. • The invasion was a disaster because Castro’s forces intercepted the plan and captured the invaders. • No rebellion against Castro occurred, but this sparked a deep hatred for the United States.
Cuban Missile Crisis • In October of 1962, US planes spotted secret Soviet missile bases in Cuba. • President Kennedy announced to US citizens that the Soviets had placed long-range missiles in Cuba. • This was an extremely TENSE time (height of the Cold War) that could have led to WWIII. • Resolution: • President Kennedy agreed not to invade Cuba and to remove US missiles from Turkey; in return, Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba.
US-Cuba Embargo • Due to the harsh events, US placed an embargo on goods from Cuba in 1962. • Cuba’s sugar cane crop could no longer be sold in the US, which hurt Cuba’s economy. • The embargo is still in place today. • As a result of the embargo, poor harvests, and bad government planning, Cuba’s economy has become very poor.
October 23, 1962: President Kennedy signs the bill to place a trade embargo on Cuba.
US & Cuba Today • Relations have not improved much over the past 50+ years. • There is still an embargo on goods to/from Cuba. • In the early 1980s and 1990s, there were periods in which large numbers of Cubans escaped their island for America. • Thousands of Cubans left because Castro would not allow free elections, freedom of speech, freedom of press, etc.
Castro Today • After a decline in health, Fidel Castro gave up the Cuban presidency on February 19, 2008. • His brother, Raul Castro, is now the Cuban dictator. • Most Cubans despise the Castro regime, but are too afraid to oppose the government.